Escaped vulture spotted 400 miles from home on a surburban rooftop

July 27, 2010 | by | 0 Comments

Residents were left in a flap after a hapless VULTURE which cannot fly properly appeared on a suburban rooftop – after being blown 400 MILES from home.

The nine-year-old bird – named Jackson – went missing from his roost at a falconry in Northampton three weeks ago and has been blown from pillar to post ever since.

Male turkey vulture Jackson – who is still on the loose – was first spotted in Colchester, Essex, and then later in Somerset.

But frightened Marilyn Jordan, 39, was stunned to see the bird perched on her roof after travelling 405 miles to Paignton, Devon.

Jackson’s worried owners revealed the vulture is a poor flier and ended up in Devon as he has no option but to literally go whatever direction the wind takes him.

Marilyn spotted the red-headed vulture – native to America – after her 10-year-old son Matthew ran in saying there was a ”massive bird” on the roof.

She said: ”We weren’t sure about the nature of the bird and I was more concerned about young children and my cat who hadn’t been in all afternoon.

”We just didn’t know what the bird’s habits were. We weren’t sure if he had eaten, or if it would swoop.

”The seagulls were going absolutely crazy. When it took flight, the seagulls started dive-bombing and attacking. The gulls had no idea what it was.”

Marilyn, who works in a hospital A&E department, grabbed her camera and started taking pictures of the black-feathered creature.

Neighbour Kelly Rodwell, 31, also saw the bird and said she was frightened because she had a cat and was worried for pets in the area.

She added: ”It was exciting for the kids – on the first day of their holidays they had a vulture on their roof.”

Jackson, who went missing from his home on July 4, was first spotted two weeks ago in Colchester, Essex, and then later in Somerset. He is still missing.

His owner Tracey Murray, 46, said she had acquired Jackson as a rescue bird who had never flown before she took him in at the Icarus Falconry.

Tracey, of Guilsborough, Northampstonshire, said Jackson doesn’t know how to use his wings properly and gets carried long distances by wind.

She said: ”He has a seven-foot wing span and he doesn’t know how to work it properly. He is pretty good until he gets in a situation which is outside his sphere of knowledge.

“It is a bit like giving a Ferrari to a 17-year-old boy. They know how to drive, but they don’t know how to use it.

“He got carried away by a gust of wind because he doesn’t let the wind out of his wings.”

Tracey has now travelled to Devon with a bird box in a desperate attempt to find the hapless vulture.

Jackson also went missing in August last year but was found three days later in Kent when he landed on an aviary in an animal sanctuary.

On that occasion he was swept up thousands of feet in a warm air stream and ended up travelling more than 175 miles.

The turkey vulture, which has a wingspan of 6ft and a short, hooked, ivory-coloured beak, can live for up to 20 years in captivity.

It is a scavenger which feeds almost exclusively on carrion and finds its meals using its keen vision and sense of smell.

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